For many people, there is a connection to where they grew up. There’s joy in community successes and a desire to help enhance and improve what is deemed valuable. And that’s exactly why Kasie McLaughlin was excited to have the opportunity to work professionally in her hometown region to care for important habitat.
Kasie attended Assiniboine Community College where she graduated with an Advanced GIS: Land and Water Management Diploma. While finishing her diploma Kasie volunteered for Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC), which along with her interest in conservation, landed her a permanent full-time position with the organization. After two years as a Habitat Conservation Technician, she took on a new role as a Habitat Conservation Specialist in 2019.
Kasie, who is the daughter of Kirk and Terri McLaughlin, grew up northeast of Alexander. She played hockey in the community for eight years and spent plenty of time at both grandparents’ farms that led to an appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors.
“I grew up exploring the creek with my sister and cousins at our grandparents’ house and quading the trails up at Duck Mountains with my family. These memories made me want to help keep the state of these special places as they have always been. It’s important to me for younger generations to have the opportunity to explore and be adventurous like I was as a kid,” said Kasie.
McLaughlin is pleased to have the opportunity to take her personal interests and intertwine them with her career.
MHHC’s mission is to conserve, restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat. She recognizes the landowner’s perspective as well and says, “We understand that getting production off your land is really important. It’s a whole system that works together.”
This conservation technician works with local landowners throughout southern Manitoba, including the Alexander-Griswold area to deliver habitat conservation-based programs with a focus on wetlands (sloughs). All MHHC programs are farm-friendly, voluntary and promote healthy ecosystems. The programs ensure that wildlife in the region, such as waterfowl, moose and white-tailed deer, continue to thrive in our province.
In addition, McLaughlin works to continually improve the 160-acre McRae Property, owned and managed by MHHC. The organization purchased the land east of Griswold in 2014 and has since been leasing the property for grazing.
“The McRae Property is a vital component to the Alexander-Griswold landscape. We felt that it was important to conserve the natural biodiversity within the property by working with local farmers to manage it and help to improve its health,” said McLaughlin.
“Some of our pieces have haying agreements, some have no agricultural work. Some are purely marsh.”
This spring, that Griswold marsh is the driest that McLaughlin has seen it in a number of years. However, a dugout along side of the marsh is holding up even in this dry spring, which means the area will probably carry similar cattle numbers as previous years.